Dosol-am is one of Korea's remotest and least-visited Hermitages, only accessible via a rocky 1-hour un-signed
trail from the tiny road leading up to Yeongwon-sa from the Macheon-dong Valley. It is perched at 1160m altitude
near the southeastern ridgeline of Jiri-san's Samjeong-bong. It has only a simple Buddha-shrine, and no San-shin
icon or altar at all, very rare for a mountain-temple like this. This is one of the few such places that I've been to
wear the resident monks were not friendly to me -- they did not speak to me or respond to my investigations, just
seemed to ignore me hoping that I would quickly leave (which I did). I suppose that whoever lives way up here is
dedicated to being a hermit, and was possibly undertaking a discipline of silence, towards deeper meditation.
The female (rare in Korea but typical of eastern
Jiri-san) San-shin painting of Jiri-san
Samjeong-bong Sang-Muju-am (1200m) 's
Sanshin-gak She holds nothing in her hands, tho
the two male dongja behind her carry symbolic
fruit and a large white-crane-feather fan. The
background-mountains are unusually vertical, like
the Karst typography of southern China.
The spectacular scenery near Sang-Muju-am, which is perched at 1200m altitude near the summit of Jiri-san's northern
spur Samjeong-bong. This exceedingly remote hermitage must be hike up to on a steep trail; it's one of the few left in
South Korea that has no road leading to it. It is famous for having been founded by "Moguja" Jinul Bojo-guksa (the
Founder-Patriarch of Korean Buddhism's Jogye Order, which remains overwhelmingly dominant) in the late 1100s, and for being
the site of his third and final enlightenment experience, which he attained while he studied the Records of Chinese Zen
Master Dahui and meditated on them in this splendid place with fellow highly-committed monks for three years. It is said
that the original name he gave it was Sang-Munsu-am [Upper Manjusri (the Bodhisattva of Wisdom] Hermitage, Munsu
being common a temple & mountain name in Korea (esp. here at Jiri-san; see here & here), but the pronunciation of the
central characters gradually became "mu-ju" for unknown reasons.
Above: a boulder-niche Sanshin-worshipping site just below this
hermitage. Right: sharing the Sanshin-gak with the above
San-shin painting is this rather unique painting of Munsu-bosal
[Manjusri the Bodhisattva of Wisdom] styled as a Heavenly King-Spirit
in the deep mountains -- two donga-girls offer Daoist-symbolic fruits,
and there's a small matching statue of him in front -- this is quite
different from how Munsu is commonly depicted in Northeast Asia.